In conjunction with the celebration of LID’s 20th anniversary, Emory Vegas Jones and Kelton Crenshaw teamed up with New Era for the release of the New Era Strapback Collection. The hats, which feature
a number of NBA teams, launched last week nationwide at several retailers across the US.

Retailed at $34.99, the hats are takedown versions of the NBA All-Star caps Emory and Kelton released back in February with New Era. Embroidered with a NBA team logo on the front and a stitched New Era flag on the left side, the hats are made up of suede, woven and polyester. To give it a secure lockdown system, the hats feature a strapback closure for an adjustable fit. With the collection featuring a wide range of NBA teams, the collection is available exclusively at Lids, New Era Flagship stores and

XXL sat down with the masterminds behind the New Era Strapback Collection, Emory Jones and Kelton Crenshaw, to get their thoughts on the final outcome of the hats, as well the behind the scene process of the collaboration.

Stephanie Mei-Ling/Lids
Stephanie Mei-Ling/Lids

How did the collaboration come about and how long have you been working on this collab?
Kelton Crenshaw: We’ve been working with New Era for probably 18 months now, but in terms of this particular project it's almost been a full 12 months because we did the drop All-Star Weekend in New York so that’s what set it off. That was all suede, so we did recurrent logos and then we broke it down and did the hardwood classic throwback logos for Lids and we also have another one for boutiques, but in a suede brim.

What are some of the features that set this hat collection apart from the rest?
Emory Jones: As far as the thing that took us so long to get approved was the NBA and everybody didn’t understand us crossing out the team, but it was like I had to explain to them, you know? We’re dealing with a new generation. It was no disrespect to the league or the teams in the NBA. It’s like let’s take a heritage brand and talk to a new consumer, so that was one of our favorite things on the hat that we had to fight for, but you know it worked out perfect. That’s one of my main things. On the inside of the hats, when you go into my office, on my wall I have a big painting that says "Don’t Overthink" because I feel like that’s the problem with us as adults and that’s the problem with us when we dealing with kids in that space because we don’t know how to talk with them. So sometimes you can’t overthink. You gotta take it easy and have a conversation, so that’s one of my favorite parts of it because the whole project was really to touch the youth, touch the consumer who feels like they not cool enough to shop at the boutique, the everyday person. That’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to share with everybody that you can be cool and you don’t have to break your mamas pocketbook to be cool. And that’s no disrespect to other spaces because we lived that space and I’m proud of what’s going on in the space, and that's where we wanted to be at. We wanted to deal like I said with the everyday person.

What do you think are the right elements needed for a good collaboration between a brand and a tastemaker?
EJ: I feel you can’t go wrong if you put the right tastemaker with some heritage, you know what I mean? Because think about it, everything that everybody is trying to do now comes from something else, so when you can get with a heritage brand that really does it from the bottom like New Era and Lids that's great. Lids stands for hats. They not waking up tomorrow and all of sudden selling you a jacket, some jeans or something else, they’re selling you a hat, no more, no less. New Era bringing you that quality of what a hat should be, so if you take that and put it on some guys like ourselves that have a little influence and we love the culture, I feel like that’s a marriage in which anything can happen.

What’s the worst fashion trends you guys have been a part of?
KC: Obviously the super baggy clothes is a little weird. I had this sky blue Akademiks velour that was so big, that shit was crazy! My pants used to fall over my shoes it was huge! That was probably one time that I look back and be like "WTF" because when I was younger in high school I really wore Polo my entire life until maybe when I graduated, that’s when the Urban stuff hit. I got draped up on that, but I had to comeback to Ralph. You can’t wrong Ralph.
EJ: It might’ve been my used damage days [Laughs]. I wore used shorts with the white button-up used shirt. The white slouch socks and here’s the killer, white Travel Fox shoes, so that was it. Don’t get me wrong I was killing it at that time and I had my partner with me and he was just as bad.

After this collaboration, what else should we expect from you guys and New Era?
This is bigger than a collab. The partnership is real anmd we got ammo in the chamber we got some things and its going to be very interesting. We covering every segment of the bisuiness. We’re doing it all.